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by Joyce Tierney, MS, CCC-SLP

Board Member SSIS and owner of Speak to Me Kids private practice

Are you worried about your child’s speech and language development?  Look below to help you determine if you should seek help for your child…

What is a speech and language disorder: 

Any disorder that affects the way a person understands and produces speech and language such as but not limited to :

  •    difficulty with comprehension of language
  •    speech sound disorder (articulation, pronunciation)
  •     motor incoordination of articulators (tongue, lips, jaw)
  •    difficulty with forming organized, grammatically correct statements
  •    struggles with word finding
  •    difficulty understanding body language, sarcasm and social pragmatic language
  •    stuttering
  •    hearing loss

Signs of a speech and language disorder:

  • between the ages of 6-12 months your child is NOT smiling, babbling, reacting to sounds around them, closer to 12 months your child is NOT pointing to objects/people
  • between the ages of 12-18 months your child is NOT  imitating, waving, using new words, demonstrating an understanding of simple instructions
  • between 18-24 months your child is NOT demonstrating a burst in language with up to 200 words by age 2, labeling familiar objects/people/pets, developing play skills,  identifying body parts, requesting
  • at 3 years of age your child is NOT commenting about their environment, engaging in simple conversations, demonstrating an understanding of basic concepts such as colors, prepositions, etc
  • at 4 years of age your child is NOT asking questions regarding their environment, using up to 5 words sentences, following more complex directions, identifying shapes, colors and letters

Ways to promote speech and language skills:

  • Model language- through song, play and routine activities
  • nursery rhymes
  • pat-a-cake
  • talk through daily routines (dressing, bathing, etc)Read books to your child daily
    • Respond to your child’s communication attempts
    • Describe the world around you
    • Use short, simple, slow speech
    • Engage your child in turn taking activities and games

If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development:

1.    Contact your pediatrician!

2.   Under the age of 3: contact your county’s early intervention program

3.   3 years+: contact your public school system’s child study team and request an evaluation

4.   Visit for a list of ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) certified Speech-Language Pathologists practicing in your area